BOLTON Wanderers has paid tribute to popular tea lady Beatrice Hart who served the club for three decades.

Mrs Hart died suddenly at her home in Wigan, on January 5, at the age of 90.

She had worked at Bolton Wanderers from 1970 to 2000.

During her time at the club Mrs Hart, who was born and raised in Bolton, established a reputation for making a “lovely cup of coffee”.

Club secretary Simon Marland said: “We all remember Beatrice fondly from her days at Burnden Park and then at the Reebok Stadium.

“She really was the salt of the earth and will be sorely missed. On behalf of everyone at the football club I would like to pass on our sincere condolences to her family.”

Mrs Hart, a mother-of-two and grandmother-of-two, worked at Burnden Park in Manchester Road before moving to the new stadium.

She served coffee in the ground’s Lever End before becoming a tea lady in the offices.

Her son Peter Hart, aged 56, who lives in Chorley, said: “That is when she became known for her penchant for milky coffee. She lived in Bolton for 54 years, off Derby Street, and 36 years in Wigan. When in Wigan she would have to get two buses to take her to the stadium to work part-time — that is how much she enjoyed working there.

“She loved the job and did not leave until she was 79. She was a Bolton Wanderers fan and we used to go watching the club as a family in Burnden Park.”

Mrs Hart, who was married to the late Benjamin, was friends with the legendary Nat Lofthouse.

Mr Hart said: “They were from the same era, and knew each other.

“My dad used to say his claim to fame was he played football against Nat Lofthouse when he was 12.”

During the war Mrs Hart, whose elder son, Benjamin Mark, died at the age of 50, worked at Hick Hargreaves and Co.

Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside was on hand to wish Mrs Hart a happy retirement when she left the club in 2000.

Mrs Hart’s funeral service was held last Thursday and donations in her memory were made to the British Heart Foundation.